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'Ted': How Seth MacFarlane animated his foul-mouthed bear

June 28, 2012|By Nicole Sperling
  • Seth MacFarlane poses for a photo ahead of his movie debut "Ted."
Seth MacFarlane poses for a photo ahead of his movie debut "Ted." (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles…)

To make "Ted," his R-rated film about a man-boy and his teddy bear that comes alive, Seth MacFarlane spent years working with his producers and visual effects supervisor Blair Clark to adapt the motion-capture technology that has been reserved for action-adventure and fantasy movies for a raunchy comedy.

But MacFarlane didn't just hand things over to the special effects whiz kids. Not only did the Connecticut native lend his best Boston accent to the bear, he also wore the motion-capture suit off-camera, so he could animate the character and interact with his actors Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis throughout the production.

Even some of "Ted's" lewd acts were performed by MacFarlane himself. "Yes, I did hump a cash register. That's the kind of progressive, left-wing guy that I am," he said.

The first day MacFarlane wore the suit, he tried it out by having his furry character sing "When You're Smiling" with a set of alternate lyrics, a moment he calls "the "worst episode ever of 'Who's Line Is it Anyway.' " MacFarlane added that he didn't try to walk or move like he believed a bear would move, but rather he sought to make Ted appear as human-like as possible.

"I had no specific bear-like angle," said MacFarlane. "I wanted him to be casual and not cartoony."

Check out the featurette above from Universal Pictures that more clearly demonstrates how MacFarlane turned his years of musical theater experience into his first big-screen moment -- as the voice and movement of Ted.

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